Let’s Hear it for the Commodore 64!!

I had a Commodore Vic-20, mostly because I could not afford the Commodore-64. However, I assure you I was well aware of the abilities of the Commodore-64. I believe that, with some modifications, they would make good voting machines.

  1. The operating system was on ROM (Read Only Memory). You turn it off and turn it back on, it came up the same way every time, unless an application cartridge was installed. Mostly, the application was on ROM too. There was simply no way to alter it.
  2. They are inexpensive. In today’s world, they could be produced at about $200 per unit; You’d need to add maybe a C note for the application. The app, written specifically as a voting machine, would be on ROM and would not be alterable.
  3. They are small, about the size of a keyboard, including the keyboard.
  4. They use very little power, not near what the current voting machines do.
  5. They would be easy to set up. Plug them in, install the app cartridge, and turn them on. Okay. There would be a little more to it, but not much. You would need to install a printer and floppy disk.

I will admit to being a little ridiculous but the little machines have some things for us to learn. Before I go on, let me explain, Commodore actually did make serious computers which were used in thousands of businesses and no one ever hacked even one. It can’t be done without opening the case and replacing parts. Also, Radio Shack built the TRS-80, affectionately called trash 80. Thousands of them also found their way into offices. Again, they relied heavily on ROM, which is not alterable.

The thing we can learn from the above is this. All voting machines should run from a special operating system that would be on ROM, not disk. As long as you have the right ROM, your system is in tact. There are some cautions that should be made, such as recording each time the machine is restarted. Also, you would not want a modem within a mile of the thing.

For those who have not figured it out, this is a continuation of the previous post. The one big problem with all the current voting machines is that, when you open them up, they are PCs. also know as personal computers. They all use the same basic parts and they all use the same operating system, Windows XX. It is well known that Widows is easily hacked. Hence, it is easily altered. Then, if the hacker is good enough, he will cover his tracks as if he was never there.

If one and all are going to insist on using the PC based system, let’s not use the Widows OS and let’s put the OS on ROM instead of disk. That way, no one will be able to alter it. To be sure, let’s make sure the systems have no outside connections, period. No modems, no Wi-Fi and no Blue Tooth. Simply, there is no need for it.

To be sure, data does need to be transferred. That should be by CD-ROM and the serial number for the CD should be written down in two places. The CD should be enclosed in a box, sealed and the box should be locked in the presence of two deputy sheriffs. When it is open, it should be opened in the presence of two deputies and the serial number should be verified.

There is, of course, a simple alternative to the above… Paper ballots and hand counting.

And, by the way, a printer should be used to print a copy of all votes, which should be verified by the voter. Then the copy should be put in a sealed box and retained for recounts, spot checks and audits. To be sure, the copy should be on special paper and it should be serialized.

If we do nothing, then our right to vote will only be as the man said, to be determined by those who count them.

To be sure, let me add one more comment. Maybe there was no fraud, but you don’t know that. No one does. By doing the above, we could have much more confidence. By doing the above, we also keep the honest man honest, as they like to say. It removes the temptation to cheat.

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